By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
FULTON, Ill. —
After starting the season with four straight road games at the Orion Tip-Off Classic, the Fulton Steamers came home to familiar faces and the raucous student section at Stan Borgman Court to host the Kewanee Boilermakers on Tuesday.
Along with being the first home game of the season for the Steamers, it was also their first conference contest of the 2012-13 season.
The first five minutes of the first quarter were tight, tied at five points apiece. But then Kewanee got a couple of breaks on some turnovers from Fulton and quickly turned it into an 11-5 lead before Fulton coach Rick Norman was forced to call a timeout. The game spiraled away from the Steamers from that point forward, ending in a 76-45 defeat.
“Obviously the results aren’t what we wanted, but they’re a good shooting ballclub,” Norman said. “Mr. Ince went off in the third quarter for 18 of their 22. If you've got a ball player like that who can just identify the basket as well as he does and shoot like he does, it's pretty hard to stop him.”
"Mr. Ince" was Kewanee senior Dayton Ince, who led all scorers on the night with 26 points and didn’t get hot until the third quarter. In the second half he knocked down four of the six 3-pointers that he hit in the game.
Fulton couldn’t answer Kewanee, falling into a large deficit that never seemed to decrease early in the game. Despite the deficit and the fact that Fulton was missing both big men, John Widener and Jake Wilging, from the game, the Steamers still drove the ball more aggressively against Kewanee than they had in any of their previous four games and also reached the free-throw line more frequently than before.
“I knew that was going to affect us out on the court; those are some key assets right there. We made way with what we had. We did pretty good shooting outside,” senior TJ Huizenga said about missing Widener and Wilging. He went on to talk about the Steamers new-found aggressiveness in the paint.
“We want the ball. That’s what it is," he said. "I don’t know what got into us, but we’re finally starting to click and we’re working as a team.”
Fulton will look to keep the aggressiveness in the paint and on defense as it hunts for its first win in the next game Saturday at Prophetstown.
KEWANEE 76, FULTON 45
FULTON (0-5) — Matt Dail 3 0-0 7, Kody Crosthwaite 1 1-2 3, Nick Fish 2 1-3 5, TJ Huizenga 5 1-2 13, Alex Barber 0 0-0 0, Devin Kuehl 4 5-8 14, Cody Huff 1 0-0 2, Colin Puckett 0 0-0 0, Kyle Huebner 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 9-17 45.
KEWANEE — John Moraski 2 0-0 6, Matt Gustafson 1 0-0 2, David Washburn 1 3-4 6, Dalton Nuding 4 1-2 9, Ryan Hicks 1 0-0 2, Trayvond Taylor 1 0-0 2, Dayton Ince 8 4-5 26, Brandon Nanninga 1 0-0 2, Dawson Nuding 0 0-1 0, Donovan Oliver 9 2-2 20, Denzel Taylor 0 0-1 0. Totals 28 10-15 76.
Fulton 5 13 13 14 — 45
Kewanee 23 16 22 15 — 76
3-point goals — Fulton 4 (Dail, Huizenga 2, Kuehl), Kewanee 9 (Moraski 2, Washburn, Ince 6). Total fouls — Fulton 13, Kewanee 17. Fouled out — None.